He Formation and Social Function of English Euphemisms Essay

As an indispensable and natural portion of English linguistic communication. English euphemisms have existed for a long clip. The visual aspect of everything. including euphemism. has its grounds. The outgrowth of English euphemisms has a close relation with linguistic communication tabu and faith. Since English euphemisms play an of import function in societal communicating. they worth careful and thorough survey. This paper will chiefly cover with the formation. categorization and societal map of English euphemisms.


English euphemisms are about employed in all Fieldss of life such as in the field of day-to-day life. in the field of instruction. in the field of jurisprudence. in the field of political relations. and in the field of commercialism and industry. The map of English euphemisms is diversified. Besides equivocation. English euphemisms now are besides used for equivocation. niceness. elegance.


‘Euphemism’comes from the Grecian ‘eu’ ( good ) and ‘phemism’ ( address ) and therefore agencies adult males literally ‘to speak’ with good words or in a pleasant mode. Originally. offering forfeits to Gods. old Greeks used words of good portents. that is euphemisms as a regulation. It is exemplified in the ancient Grecian footings for the Furies—the Eumenides or Erinyes. Harmonizing to Neaman’s ( 1990 ) statement:

By and large talking. euphemising is defined as replacing an unoffending or pleasant term for a more expressed. violative 1. thereby veneering the truth by utilizing sort words ( P1 ) .

Euphemism is prevailing in human society. a lingual phenomenon is the usage of linguistic communication is an of import agencies of modulating interpersonal relationships. its usage has an of import societal map. Such as interpersonal communicating in the ceremonial maps. maps of misrepresentation to cover up the truth. and human Ironically map. Social map

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English euphemisms have great societal significance and practical significance in sublimating linguistic communication. advancing human relation and embroidering professions to seek for the political orientation of just competition. As Liu Chunbao ( 1994 ) claims:

Need is the female parent of innovation. The creative activity and formation of euphemisms is closely related to the demands of people. such as societal communicating. involvement. contemplation of values and outlook. Furthermore. these demands besides give rise to their assorted societal maps. In order to set up good societal relation. people use euphemisms to do what they want to state more pleasant. So they become an of import agencies in communicating ( P10 ) .

1. For equivocation

Since decease is inevitable. it has become the fright of all human being. In early clip. people rarely mentioned decease straight because they were superstitious about it. They believed that decease was a Satan that can hear human’s voice. So if you speak of it. it will look. Therefore. there were many euphemisms about the word “die” such as “breathe one’s last” and “join the majority” .

2 For niceness

The Pursuit of beauty is the nature of human being. Beauty helps one feel confident while ugliness makes one hold a sense of lower status. So it is impolite even violative to state person is ugly straight. When people want to show person is ugly. they normally say “He is apparent looking” or “She is non pretty” . etc. With the betterment of populating criterion. more and more people have a weight job. Assorted merchandises of losing weight inundation into the market for being excessively fat is non merely a job of visual aspect but besides a job of wellness. Obesity brings incommodiousness every bit good as the hazard of many diseases. Therefore. there are a batch of euphemisms about blubber like “plump” . “chubby” or “tubby” . etc. “Skinny” is another unpleasant word. No 1 likes to be described as “skinny” . but they will be truly pleased when they hear others depict them as “slim” or “slender” .

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3. For elegance

Body waste is a gross outing subject in polite conversation. They are avoided by agencies of euphemisms. “Defecation” refers to one of the sickest elements in the universe. When you go to see a physician for a tummy disturbance. the physician will inquire you. “How is your intestine motion? ” And if he wants to hold a farther scrutiny. he will necessitate a specimen of your manure. If person rounds his pollex and index finger up to organize the missive “C” with other fingers stretching out. he wants to travel to W. C. There are other looks holding the same significance. like “to sing a song” . “to see the moon” . “answer the nature’s call” . “do one’s business” or merely “ Excuse me” .


Based on the comparative survey above made. euphemisms are more popular non merely for the historical grounds. but besides the demands of times. Lin Zhenyue ( 1994 ) notes:

Euphemisms may be based on different civilizations and histories. the psychological and lingual forms underlying their formation are the same. Psychologically. if non linguistically. significance can be defined as the amount of our responses to a word or an object. Words themselves may be seen as responses to stimuli. After a word has been associated for a long period of clip with the stimulation that provokes it. the word itself picks up facets of the response elicited by the stimulation object ( P59 ) .